persian and jewish culture shared patterns

Table of Contents

Persian and Jewish Culture 2
Introduction 2
The Two Cultures 3
What are the Differences in Family Life? 4
What are Some Traditions and Special Holidays in the Jewish Culture? 4
What are some traditions and special holidays to Persian Culture? 5
References 5

Persian and Jewish Culture

For the purposes of the scholarly study, culture may be defined as shared patterns of interactions and behaviors, cognitive constructs, as well as affective understanding that may be learned through a socialization process. These shared patterns categorize the members of a culture grouping while also differentiate those of a different group (Banks, 2009). This paper posits to present an inclusive analysis of the Persian and Jewish cultures.

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The Two Cultures

The Jews and the Persians lived in closely in Mesopotamia for a period of more than 12 centuries. By and large, these two cultures co-existed peacefully, while the Jews comprised of a large minority in a very important province. In reality, Mesopotamia was so essential that the capital was right across the Tigris River at Ctesiphon, from Babylonia. The Jews were consequently a fortification of the Empire in the event that they were politically quiescent and satisfied. Consequently, the Sasanians opposed demands from the Zoroastrian Church to discriminate against these minorities (Banks, 2009).
Zoroastrianism, the official faith of the Persian Empire, was comfortable and well-known to the Jews, with its theological dogma of creation by the omniscient and benevolent Ohrmazd, judgment, punishment and reward, hell and heaven, creation, the fight in opposition to evil, the messiah’s coming, the ultimate trounce of evil, the replenishment of creation, as well as the resurrection of the departed. This was factual of its ethical system also, with its prominence on right thought, right action, and right speech, as well as its ritual system with the emphasis on the avoidance of idol worship. It also abhorred sodomy, sorcery, and contact with women during menstruation as well as dead bodies.
Its valorization of doctrines bearing rabbinic inclinations as the importance of verbal transmission and the power of the rabbis were close similarities in the two cultures. On account of this long-standing peaceful coexistence and the basic resemblance in world-view, there are a large number of comparables, mutual as well as one-way borrowings and influences. These are manifested in a number of areas of Jewish-Babylonian rabbinic life, in lifestyles, in legal as well as theological borrowings, and in awareness (Satlow, 2008).

What are the Differences in Family Life?

The differences are as illuminating as are the resemblances, and historians of Sasanian as well as Jewish law disregard them at their risk. An upper-class Persian woman was allowed to manage the family’s estates, and therefore, stand for the estate in a court, provide testimony, disaffect her husband’s property, become heir to a double-share from the husband as well as a half-share from the father, and occasionally select her own. This was not the case in the Jewish culture (Yaakov, 2006).

What are Some Traditions and Special Holidays in the Jewish Culture?

Jewish holidays, several of which are extremely ancient, are founded on the seasons in the year and signify the agricultural phase. The days in the Jewish calendar are calculated from one day’s sunset until the next day’s sunset. The Sabbath, Shabbat, therefore starts on Friday sundown, and is referred to as Erev Shabbat. Shabbat concludes on Saturday sundown, referred to as Motsa’ei Shabbat. Several of the Jewish holidays are religious holidays associated with Judaism the religious festivals are generally celebrated in a community or family setting (Banks, 2009).
The Jewish holidays’ cycle commences with Rosh Hashanah, which is the Jewish New Year, in Tishrei, the Hebrew month which overlaps with late September as well as early October. Rosh Hashanah is followed by Yom Kippur, also referred to as the Day of Atonement, and lastly Sukkot, the holiday of Booths. The second festival period in the Jewish calendar comes in the spring, when the festivals of Purim, Pesach, and Passover are observed, in the months of Adar, Nissan as well as Iyar, which match with March, April as well as May (Satlow, 2008).

What are some traditions and special holidays to Persian Culture?

The Persian calendar is used in Iran with twelve months, which are different, from the Western cultures. The festival of NoRooz is Persian festivity of the spring equinox or New Year, around March 21st in western calendars. This is the most esteemed and most fêted holiday. The No Rooz preparation start before the real date and the occasion lasts for 13 days. It is traditional for all to cleanse meticulously and take a bath prior to NoRooz. This is believed to be a purification ritual, but, contemporary times have lost the true significance (Satlow, 2008). On the final Tuesday of every year, prior to No Rooz, Persians perform spring cleaning and light bonfires in the night, to symbolize the salutation for the return of the deceased souls.
The custom of commemorating Yalda goes back to the Mithraism faith and rites of the triumph of good over evil. Initially, it was alleged that final night of Azar, when winter solstice takes place is a gloomy time in which evil forces are at their utmost power. The following day and the opening day of Dey, marks the triumph of sun, a representation of good over evil given that, the days become lengthier while the nights become shorter (Banks, 2009).


Banks, J. (2009). Multicultural Education. N. Y: Free Press.
Satlow, M. (2008). Flavoring the Dish: Rabbinic Expressions of Sexuality. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
Yaakov, E. (2006). Marriage & Marital Property In Rabbinic & Sasanian Law. Upper Saddle River: Pearson Education.

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